Chapter Seven: Memories Of The Heart
Walking through the gardens: a mostly flat paved pathway, beds of various flowers and a wondrous amount of plants encircled with wooden panelling.
The flowers stood tall and proud, each one flaunting their colours and petals to the circling bees hoping their blood-line could be carried on, as well as outstretching their leaves as if begging the sun to bestow more rays on them.
Pollen was at an all-time high tickling Kaydences senses, the sun seemed focused on the area he was currently ambling through, he had yet to stop for food deciding a walk was needed more to at least lower his stress before attempting to purchase something.
The warm glow heated his back like a gentle hand guiding him past a few benches dotted around that he’d been tempted to stop at for a break but his legs seemed to have a mind of their own and carried him further into the unknown.
People stopped and stared whereas a few mothers pulled their children along as if he was some horrific creature told in a myth except it wasn’t the children that seemed scared.
It did pain him to know he was feared, he knew it wasn’t his heterochromic eyes or the fact he preferred not wearing shoes, it was his wings.
They stood as a reminder, a beacon of treason and betrayal to those who were either a part of the Trinity war or who had lost family to it, everyone knew what the High council of Evangelis and rich folk of Himiratia had done that day and no one forgot or forgave.
After all his kind was the one to kick-start the war that caused the mass slaughter of thousands, even if he only belonged to that clan partially he knew he still had their blood and not even the prominent birthmark of the Terra clan that he bore proudly on his chest could change that.
People were all entitled to their own views and there was nothing his simple existence could do to change them, they simply believed what they were taught and told much like he was and in all honesty, he couldn’t exactly hate them for it because at least they had a good reason to resent him and want to stay away.
He just wished things could have been different, if he could have been there at the time he wanted to believe he would have changed things to prevent the war from happening but it was impossible and besides he doubted he would have been able to change the knowledge-driven minds of the arrogant beings on his own.
Like all High Council’s should be, they were close-knit and relied a lot on each other for support in their endeavours so the chances of breaking such a reinforced chain alone was nearly if not entirely impossible, no one really stood a chance against fate the war was bound to happen if not under those circumstances then it would have happened later and possibly could have been worse.
Looking up from the gravelly ground and his dirtied feet, his eyes fell upon a small clearing.
At the centre a grand fountain moulded into a spectacular stone oak tree, each bough used to distribute the water flowing through it back into the pond below.
Benches of twisted bronze and wood surrounded it at intervals each one paired with a wooden box displaying magnificent arrays of flowers.
An array of trees and bushes circled the clearing as if hiding it away from others, only allowing those who wander to find it.
Leaves fluttered up above him as well as around him almost like an echo carried by the wind, the sound of water lapping the stone of the pond and the small ripple caused by the residential koi fish only added to the serenity of the humble space.
As he sat on one of the select few benches, the windswept past catching his feathers and hair in its benign hold, the warm breeze relaxed all the tension in his body allowing him to close his eyes and breath a sweet breath of anxiety-free air as the light air swept the worries along.
The smell of honeysuckle, jasmine and plumeria caressed his sense, the cheery chirping of sparrows and finches bounced from left to right occasionally soaring overhead, that combined with the bliss darkness behind his hooded eyes, and the wholesome aroma’s sent him in a daze of peace.
No longer trapped in a room where his brain was forced to work and assemble plans and schemes, his senses no longer invaded with the arguments or dusty air and dimly lit spacing.
He could relax, If only for a little bit.
* * *
Mayfel’s body spun around, stood a good few meters back was Jeanove, he’d know those baby blue curls anywhere.
Presented in a fine, lavender cotton shirt complete with a drawstring that descended in a criss-cross pattern a quarter of the way down and left loosely allowing the fabric to show a slither of his toned and evenly tanned chest.
Loosely hugging his legs were a pair of cream, linen drawstring trousers, he was clearly used to the growing heat with all of his fancy yet lightly fabricated clothing.
Even with the cocky, playful smirk on his face he still managed to pull off the prince charming look which undoubtedly brought an uneasy feeling to the pit of Mayfel’s stomach.
“I am actually off somewhere right now sorry” not sorry he thought, Despite the fact he had kept his dull green eyes mostly constant for their short duration in the city he still managed to attract unwanted attention which just begged the question of why people approaching him always wanting something from him.
If it wasn’t because of his eyes and freakish abilities- that shouldn’t even exist after the bright light- that drew the attention of aggressive men wanting to show off and fulfil their ego then it was others that just wanted to use him as an example of who not to befriend or let their children grow up to be and quite frankly he was sick of it.
“Well I shall walk with you to your destination then, I shall take you to lunch” he replied much to Mayfel’s dismay and anguish.
Not giving in he said “No I have to meet my friend he’s waiting for me” Mayfel continued eerily calm having had ample amounts of practice with impatient and inconsiderate souls.
“Your companion, the one with the wings, one of The Fallen”
“He is my companion, yes but he is nothing like those traitors hiding in their mountain, he is not a fallen and he has the birthmark to prove it. Now if you don’t mind I’ll be on my way”.
He was not happy in the slightest with the way this man talked about his friend, he made it seem so easy to accuse someone of being something they aren’t.
He was so quick to judge without even knowing Kaydence, another thing Mayfel did not like about the blue-haired pompous fae.
Jeanove clearly had never experienced being an outcast, being cut off from your own kind, exiled if you will and it showed in the lack of empathy or maybe that was just because he was raised as a prince of sorts and all of the power and fame went straight to his thick skull.
Already having enough of their short and rather one-sided discussion, Mayfel set a brisk pace as he strode down the street attempting to distance himself from the man before he drew the attention of others while having a rather heated argument with Jeanove in the middle of the street.
“Mayfel!” a voice called from behind him to which he ignored even when the voice called out his name again and again each time growing closer.“Mayfel I did not mean to upset you, it was never my intention” Jeanove sweet-talked placing a compassionate hand on Mayfel’s tense shoulder.
“I am busy Jeanove so if you don’t mind I have to go” he informed as he shook off the hand from where it lay and began walking again.
Seemingly desperate Jeanove continued “Please just have lunch with me and if you do not want to see me again after that then I shall leave you be. One hour that is all I ask of you”
“The more you ask the more I will answer no, now I have important business and right now you are slowing me down” he huffed “If you want to be helpful point me in the direction of the posting agent so I can deliver a letter if you don’t mind”.
Choosing to ignore the mumbling of the conceit fae Mayfel trailed after him admiring the seemingly foreign clothes in the windows, the differences between lifestyles here and at home oddly held quite a range mainly because he was used to work whereas people here only dressed up to buy the produce he and his fellow huntsmen and farmers provided on a daily basis having known nothing about the hard labour only its rewards.
Never in his wildest dreams could he live as they did, he failed to understand how they couldn’t work and yet not feel bad for others working to give them food and clothes while they just paid them back for them to make more.
The thought just didn’t sit well with him and at least back home he knew they hated him, it was no secret, but here he didn’t know what kind of reactions he’d get, granted probably not the best but the thought of the unknown scared him and Mayfel much preferred to stick with what he knew.
Approaching a tall kind of run-down looking building Jeanove turned to him with a half-hearted curt bow before sauntering off looking like he was trying to restore the pride Mayfel had knocked, not that he had any remorse or regret for the way he replied, maybe it would teach him some manners they didn’t teach him in the capital.
The door to the establishment hung open on what looked to be rickety hinges, it was a wonder they even kept the door attached to the frame let alone it actually opening and closing with the amount of rust that littered it.
Creaking floorboards welcomed him in as well as the dingey smell of dust and sodden wood, evidently, there was a leak somewhere, if not everywhere considering the gaps and missing planks.
Mould extended up the interior walls spreading to the damp infested ceiling where a rusted and barely lit chandelier hung sadly, lifeless almost which didn’t say much for the rest of the place.
Being in Crestfold Mayfel expected everything to be pristine and the best of the best but this truly did show another side to the place, another face to the many masks it swapped out to fool each individual.
A foul odour hung in the air to which he guessed was built up excretion from the carrier birds residing upstairs, the thought of seeing all of it made his stomach church.
On the front desk sat a bell surprisingly kept cleaner then everything else as well as the pile of thick books stacked next to it, no one was present to greet him and he dreaded to think what they would look like if the building was any reflection of their mental state.
A hesitant finger hovered over the golden button for a split second within which he wondered if it was clean enough to touch or if he’d get some sort of illness he did however manage to bring himself to do it against his better judgement.
The shrill ding rang out signifying his arrival and the beginning of his waiting allowing him more time to take in his depressing surroundings.
Mayfel kept a tight hold on the envelope, palms unusually sweaty and sticking to the smooth paper surface which he blamed on the heat and not nervousness from being near Jeanove.
Thudding over his head indicated there was in fact someone inside, another ring of the bell later and the heavy footsteps from above began thudding down the steps in the back and towards the front desk.
Regretfully Mayfel drew in a breath to reply trying to stop himself from choking on the fumes as he said “Hello there, I’m here to drop off a letter that needs sending as soon as possible” announcing it to the burly man approaching who wore a bored expression.
“Put It in the basket” the man grumbled pointing to an overflowing basket of letters to the right of the desk.
Clutching the paper a little tighter he said “Well you see this is a very important letter and needs to leave today” hoping not to have to put it amongst the others.
“No more deliveries today next delivery is tomorrow morning”
The man’s attitude was beginning to push his patience “This has to be the first letter to leave here, sir I can’t stress how important this letter is” he urged.
“I get it just leave It on the desk” the man sighed opening one of the large books and filling it in with a brown quill. “What’s the name?”
Grumbling the man replied “It’ll leave tomorrow morning when the birds are ready”
“Thank you, how much will that be?”
“Where is it heading?”
Hesitantly, Mayfel said “Nirvariten, Thadal Village”
“Three Holvens” he demanded.
Handing over the bronze coins he put his wallet back in its place and watched the gruff man stamp ‘paid’ in red next to his name.
“You can leave now”
“Alright thank you” Mayfel replied a little offended by his lack of manners, glancing one behind him before he left he witness the man toss his letter into the cascading papers earning a huff and an eye roll from Mayfel as he left the suffocating fumes.
* * *
Pleasant restfulness, an untroubled mind, hushed whispers of the leaves and sleepless coos of feathered creatures and to ruin it all came the despaired and long awaiting bellowing of the starved creature inside of him.
It reverberated around the small space, surprisingly not terrifying the traces of wildlife.
Kaydence was indeed starving having ignored Mayfel’s previous nagging since at the time with his mind spiralling with a million what-ifs that seemingly counteracted the thought and feeling of hunger deeming it not important.
But now, now that his mind and body was at rest the feeling came back aggressive, nausea along with a tight cramping sensation ruled supreme weakening his entire being.
Food at that moment was all he wanted, his body craved the supplement of meat and sugared treats as well as a cool beverage to hydrate the increasing scratchy, dryness of his throat.
Without knowing if he could even stand he pushed his body up which didn’t help in soothing the cramp or nauseating feeling that escalated a great deal paving the way for a dizzy spell to overpower his body sending his legs to involuntarily stumble a few paces.
The black dots that clouded his vision one by one dissolved letting colours and light back in to clear the fog in his mind allowing his brain to regain its composure, which it did on a gradual timescale much to his dismay but then again he had no one to blame but himself for leaving it so long.
“Kaydence? I thought I told you to get some food not sit and admire the flowers. Get your priorities right” came Mayfel’s infuriated voice which Kaydence thought he’d never be so happy to hear. “You’re lucky I stopped by the market to get some things for us”
“I got caught up, sorry” Kaydence replied truly meaning it.
Mayfel who didn’t reply simply forced an unwrapped cereal bar passed Kaydences lips urging him to eat not caring if he didn’t like the flavour.
Caught off guard yet pleasantly surprised Kaydence ate it, swallowing it he felt it feed the rabid growling satisfying it for at least half an hour until he could get his hands on a more fulfilling meal.
“Thank you” he mumbled through a mouthful of granola.
“Like I said, you’re no use to me unconscious. Now sit down”
In doing so a single hand belonging to Mayfel reached out, gracing the velvety quills up to the very peaks of his wings that seemed to mirror their homeland of pointed and treacherous mountains.
He took care around the small bald, irritated areas around the scars that were still raised, there were no signs of infections as of yet but with his body going through such a battering and not healing under the best of conditions it was imperative to check every now and again.
The hope was for it all to be healed and ready for the next part of their venture because it would undoubtedly be longer and more demanding with them having less time to rest and definitely less comfortable places too as they headed for Nirvariten.
“Did you manage to get the letter sent?” Kaydence asked quietly.
“I handed it over but it can’t be sent until tomorrow morning, if that”
“You don’t seem to have a lot of faith in the delivery system”
“Trust me, if you saw that place and that man’s attitude you wouldn’t expect them to even leave there before they rot” Mayfel said with recollection and a slight shiver.
Disbelieving Kaydence said “It couldn’t have been that bad”
“Well if the letter does get sent then you can pick up the reply, see how you cope” Mayfel sassed.
“I suppose we’re staying here a little longer then”
“It seems like it yes, but I guess we might as well try to enjoy it while we’re here if anything just to make it seem like we don’t know anything”
“That’d be best, the less they suspect us knowing anything, the more time we have to tell Solon” Kaydence noted.
Remembering to bring up Jeanove’s harassment Mayfel continued on to say “Agreed, I’m hoping I got the Lady of the High Councils son off of my tail”
“He spoke to you again?” he asked becoming interested yet slightly concerned as to why the man had taken such a sudden interest in Mayfel when they’d only been there for a day and the last time Kaydence knew had only had one encounter.
“He wanted to take me to lunch, I of course said no but it makes me think why he took such a fancy to me. Then again if he’s working alongside his mother it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s a spy of some kind” Mayfel observed aloud.
“Just be careful about what you say around him, we can trust no one but each other”
Mayfel wasn’t about to go looking for Jeanove voluntarily so he wasn’t hoping to see him again to even be given the chance to slip up.
Seeing as it wasn’t a possibility he ignore what Kaydence had said thinking it was unnecessary and made it seem like he could trust him to keep his mouth shut, and chose to say “Kaydence can I ask you something?”
Nodding he replied “You know you can”
“When you talked to the high council you said that you were adopted by Bregan, that you were found. Do you know who your real parents are?”
He should have known the question would come up, Kaydence just didn’t expect it to be so soon.
“No, Bregan raised me my whole life and not even he knows, all either of us knew is that I am part Aer clan and part Terra.”
“I’m sorry” Mayfel responded sympathetically.
There it was again, the typical fallback reply, he couldn’t take out his frustration for it on Mayfel when he genuinely seemed to mean it so instead he bit his tongue and responded “It wasn’t your fault”
“I know, I just felt as though I should say something” he shrugged, maybe he didn’t mean it Kaydence thought slightly disheartened.
Nevertheless, he thanked him for his words.
“If it helps, I never knew my mother either” Mayfel said dismally.
Kaydence had been wondering about Mayfel’s parents ever since his understandable refusal to answer his questions a week or so ago, he didn’t want to push him because he knew how difficult it could be to explain to others.
“And your father?” he asked earning a deep inhale of air almost as if it were some sort of preparation to proceed.
Indeed Mayfel did need preparation to say what he wanted as well as courage “My father, he’s a chronic drunk although he wasn’t always, it got worse when I became a teenager. My mother she... she died giving birth to me, growing up my father blamed me but raised me anyway until I could do it myself before he spiralled”
“That’s why you live alone, away from the village?” Kaydence asked sympathetically making sure to soften his tone.
“After I got good at hunting I started selling what I could to make my earning, escaping the smell of alcohol and the drunken beatings took longer than I wanted but I did it. Then the beatings and verbal abuse came from other people who knew nothing about me” Mayfel said audibly holding back the waves of emotions that crashed against his stable mind.
“No one should have to go through that, especially you” he whispered bringing him into a hug.
For years Mayfel blamed himself, his father's words scarring him and making him believe them so to hear Kaydence say that he shouldn’t have been treated the way he had been was something he wasn’t familiar with. He couldn’t help but ask why?
“Because you are one of a few people to ever show me kindness and no one with a heart like yours deserves a past like that”
“As you said, it’s my past. I try to forget about it so he can’t ruin the rest of my life. I want this to stay here, in this garden”
“Of course” he replied patting his back “Why don’t we go and grab a bite to eat, I don’t know about you but I’m starving”
“What do you have in mind?” Mayfel asked sounding a little more like himself again.
“Whatever we find first”